We each come to a martial art school, or garage, for different reasons…
- Some are looking for a part-time hobby, an escape that may include social interaction.
- Some are looking for general fitness, though something different from a gym or jogging.
- Some want to learn practical means of self-defense.
- Some want to learn an art.
Most want an amalgam of the above, two or more concerns blended together with one dominate concern.
A simple part-time escape hobby is as base as you can get. In some way, general fitness is much the same. If you are in either of these two categories, class time is often sufficient.
If, however, you find yourself leaning more toward self-defense or art/sciences, class-time itself is not enough. You may find yourself taking seminars from time to time, and that is good but still not enough.
Many students too often restrict themselves to the class itself. Your center is off. You are pointing at group time, totally ignoring the self. That needs to change.
If you intend to get better, you have to go beyond the class. That does not necessarily mean taking more seminars. It may even mean taking less at times.
Do not wait for the instructor to go over a form or a weapon of interest. Practice it yourself, on your own time. You will make mistakes, but you will learn something too. You will get better. Your instructor will eventually see errors and correct them. Do not fool yourself into thinking you can only practice under immediate supervision. Do you think you are not making mistakes then? Of course you are. Your instructor may not get to see them when you do them, as there are other students. Sometimes the instructor allows them to pass, requiring you to focus on a greater concern. It will be no different at home.
I have done every Wing Chun form I know, at least the upper body portion, while sitting on the throne. I have practiced pivots, forms, and footwork in the shower, and while moving down my hallway. I have worked arm positions while driving. There are many moments when you can go a little deeper, focus more intently or more generally, and improve your knowledge.
Speaking of knowledge – take notes in class. History, terms, and physiology are worthy of note-taking. Constantly drilled patterns are easier to learn and remember if you have at least tried to write them down.
In this spirit of change and growth, perhaps the salutation or some other aspect of training will be altered. Just as there is more than one way to skin a cat, there are many ways to do what we do. We have to work our brains as well as our bodies.
Meet what enters, including change, escort it, and fill the void.